Kraus, Karl

LITERARY MAN, EDITOR, SATIRIST (AUSTRIA)
BORN 28 Apr 1874, Jicin, Böhmen - DIED 12 Jun 1936, Wien
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Simmering (Gruppe 05 A, Reihe 1, Nummer 33)

Karl Kraus was the son of a Jewish paper merchant in North Bohemia. In 1877 the family moved to Vienna, where he studied philosophy.

He became famous as the editor and publisher of the satirical magazine "Die Fackel" ("The Torch", 1899-1936). Collaborators to the Fackel were Detlev von Liliencron and Else Lasker-Schüler. Kraus was known for his biting sarcasm and his arrogance, but his readers admired his brilliant style and he was regarded as the most influential satirist of his time. In 1909 he started publishing aphorisms in "Sprüche und Widersprüche". During World War I he criticized Austrian war policies and the Fackel was closed down by the authorities several times. In the twenties he turned his rage especially against the Viennese police forces and the theatre critic Alfred Kerr.

Allthough he was a Jew himself he didn't hesitate to attack the Jews in his writings. On Freud's psychoanalysis he wrote that it was the illness it pretended to be able to cure. Krass argued in favour of sexual liberation for women, but he fought hypocrisy and intellectual corruption. Kraus hated the machine age. He loved the use of language, but he hated those who abused it.

He lived most of his life in Vienna and his lectures in Berlin and Vienna were famous. Kraus died lonely and embittered.

Works: "Worte in Versen" (9 volumes, 1916-1930); "Die letzten Tage der Menschheit" ("The Last Days of Mankind", 1919, on World War I).

Related persons
• admired Kalmar, Annie
• detested Kerr, Alfred
• knew Spiel, Hilde
• cooperated with Wedekind, Frank
• was influenced by Weininger, Otto

Events
1905/5/29: Private performance in Vienna of Frank Wedekind's "Die Büchse der Pandora"
The play was first performed at 1 Feb 1904 at the Intime Theater in Nürnberg, but banned by the German censors afterwards. Karl Kraus organised a private performance at the Trianon Theatre in Vienna. Tilly Newes played Lulu and Albert Heine played Schigolg and was the director. Adele Sandrock had the part of Gräfin Geschwitz, Ida Orloff was Kadidja di Santa Croce and Karl Kraus was Kungu Pote. Wedekind himself played the murderer Jack.

Sources
• Benz, Wolfgang/Hermann, Biographisches Lexicon zur Weimarer Republik, Beck, München, 1988
• Budig, Robert S. et al, Ehrengräber am Wiener Zentralfriedhof, Compress Verlag Wien, Wien
• Zeman, Z.A.B., Schaduwen over de Habsburgers, De ineenstorting van de dubbelmonarchie, Sijthoff, Leiden, 1971
Biographie: Karl Kraus, 1874-1936

Images

The grave of Karl Kraus at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (25 Jan 1999)

 


Krauss, Werner

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 29 Jul 2012